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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Know your plaice and serve with mussels and rhubarb.

We have been selling a lot of whole 'half price' plaice at the Tesco Extra fish counter in Beeston in the last few days and I decided to try to cook some for myself for the first time last night.

First of all I bought two whole plaice thinking (they are only smallish flat fish) that one would not be enough for me but, once I had got them home and trimmed off the fins and bony heads, I realised that one was actually fine with accompaniments. The other went into the freezer.

In the first instance I purchased the fish after my shift and got inspired to add a few fresh mussels, potentially steamed in a refreshingly crisp white wine (Pinot Grigio) and added to the plaice dish as a pleasing aside. Then I bought some fresh dill, also from Tesco, to add to the cooking fish with the knowledge that the dill gives off a mild aniseed aroma, that the cooking fish will take on. I had run out of capers so I got a jar of those too to give the fish another accent. It only needs a few. So far so good.

When I got home I was thankful to my fridge that there was another friendly bottle of Pinot Grigio chilling there. I like to have an inspiring chilled beverage or two as I cook and, as half the wine was going towards infusing the mussels, why spoil the overall effect by skimping on the wine. I see you lovely readers are with me on this one!

My next door neighbour Jo was kind enough to be generous to me by offering one of her very own purple headed, organic 'allotment grown' garlic to help flavour the mussels and I rewarded her with a steaming bowl of my finished dish later on.

Now here is the interesting part. After the plaice had cooked in the gas oven for about forty-five minutes complemented by zingy lemon slices and mouth watering lemon and pepper butter - with a small accent of olive oil to give a Mediterranean flavour to the fish cooking, I decided to play with the evolving food.

Mr Harris checking on the cooking. He is the expert after all.
I had been busy cooking some Tilda Basmati rice with black wild rice and once done to a satisfying crunchy rice mouth feel I chose to strip the creamy white cooked fish flesh from the bones and mixed them into the rice discarding a few soft bones along the way.

Another neighbour (Ms Georgie) had given me some home grown rhubarb and I got inspired to off set the delicate fish with a rhubarb and Greek style yoghurt dressing. Simple, minimal and sugary sharp, it all worked very well and, all combined. it made one of the most inspiring meals I have concocted in a long time. The rope grown orangey shell on mussels added at the last minute made the dish very special. Even Mr Harris the cat was very impressed! "Miaow!" Totally agree Mr Harris!

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